As summers are in full swing, the probability of getting sun burned has increased drastically and its high time we address some of the ways you can treat a sunburn.
Sunburn is a name given to red, swollen or blistered skin caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. Even though they might seem temporary, they can significantly increase the risk of skin cancers, wrinkles and sunspots. According to Marchbein, “Having five blistering sunburns can increase your risk of developing a melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 80 percent”.
Using sunscreens with a high level of SPF is a common way of avoiding sunburns, however, if you get one, here are some ways you can soothe the discomfort:
One of the most common way to treat a sunburn is by applying aloe vera gel on the affected skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that ease the pain whilst preventing any bacterial growth. According to EcoWatch, “A review of four experimental studies found that aloe vera could reduce the healing time of burns by about nine days, compared with conventional medication”.
White Vinegar or Apple cider Vinegar
They can act as an antiseptic, preventing any infection in the blistered skin. They both have anti-inflammatory properties that ease the pain and irritation. Soak a cloth in a solution of half water and half vinegar, and apply to the affected area.
Baking soda stabilizes the pH of the body by neutralizing acids. It can be used either by mixing half a cup in a cool bath, or by making a paste with a few drops of water and applying on the affected area.
Greek yogurt is another effective remedy for a sunburn. It contains a high proportion of lactic acid allowing it to be used as an anti-inflammatory and soothing the sunburned skin. Applying it directly onto the skin can help ease the discomfort immediately. According to Dr. Debra Jaliman, assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “Greek yogurt is strained more times that traditional yogurt and as a result it is thicker and has a higher concentration of probiotics.” Probiotics are beneficial bacterial or yeast cells that are good for your body. She further says, ‘Recent studied have found that topical application of probiotics decreases skin sensitivity and redness”.
Oatmeal is considered an effective remedy for treating an itching sunburn. You can grind it with milk and honey and apply the paste on the affected skin. Another way can be putting dry oatmeal in a cheesecloth or gauze and putting under cool water, saving the water. Soak a clean cloth in the water and dab the sun burnt skin with it. Repeat after every 2-4 hours for instant results.
If a sunburn dries, it might get itchy and irritating. Applying a moisturizer traps the moisture and keep the skin hydrated. Avoid using oils or scented products as they might further irritate the damaged skin.
Cucumbers are known to contain 95% water which gives a cooling effect and can be used to sooth inflamed skin. Applying round or long rectangular slices of cucumber on the effected skin can help reduce the irritation and keep the affected area moisturized.
Apart from these, avoid applying ice cubes or Vaseline on the burnt skin as they might further irritate it. Use a sunscreen and avoid sitting directly under the sun. Prevent using first-aid sprays containing lidocaine or benzocaine as they’re meant to numb the skin but can agitate the blister and cause an allergic reaction.